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Opinion: When it comes to strategy and tactics, you have to have both

FILE - In this May 27, 2020, file photo released by Xinhua News Agency, members of a Chinese surveying team head for the summit of Mount Everest, also known locally as Mt. Qomolangma.(Tashi Tsering/Xinhua via AP, File)

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

When it comes to strategy and tactics, neither one will work well without the other. 

The author of The Art of War, Sun Tzu recognized this 2 1/2 millennia ago when he stated: “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy are the noise before defeat.”

When it comes to winning, whether it’s in business,  your personal life or government, there’s an important connection between strategy and tactics; those who bring those two facets together are successful.

Strategy, no tactics

The world is filled with visionaries and strategists who can talk about great ideas, inspiring concepts and the blue sky, shoot-the-moon kind of thing. Unfortunately, a lot of them are never able to transform those visions into practical applications, which can then be executed and produce real results.

Big dreams are good, but without specific tactics, they just lead to frustration and disappointment; the way forward becomes so slow, the victory is lost.

Tactics, no strategy

Too often in our world today we focus on activity. I often refer to this as motion versus forward movement.

On the other hand, tactics without vision or strategy is just drudgery or the noise before defeat.

So many individuals, so many businesses, so many things in our nation’s capital end up so laser-focused on just the day-to-day activity, they’re disconnected from strategy. They are very busy but not very productive.

Both together = results

We’ve had a lot of tragic moments, but not a lot of forward movement when it comes to gun violence in the country. Why is that? I think it’s because we have not combined strategy and tactics to produce actual outcomes.

It’s something that we have to expect more from our leaders. You have to have leaders who can connect the dots. Part of the leader’s role is to help those they’re leading make that connection for themselves because if they don’t make that connection, you’re never going to sustain changes or build culture.

Also part of a leader’s job, whether in business, in government, community or family, is to be committed to doing both tactics and strategy.


Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app. 

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